Tomorrow is my last work day until July 16th. I took a two week vacation last year but it wasn’t planned. I took my usual July 4th week off and when it was time to go back I couldn’t put a name to it but I knew I wasn’t ready to go back. Fortunately my director is very gracious and let me use another week of vacation. I came back better than when I left but I was far from ok (looking back in retrospect).

I’ve spent the last half of the year and so far the first part of this year winding myself up into knots by overcommitting and underdelivering at work and mostly in my personal life. In times past I could just power through the fatigue, fogginess, and unrelenting pace but this time has been different. Between pursuing my BS/MS in IT Management through an accelerated program, still processing my father’s death from Pancreatic Cancer in February of last year, simultaneously having to be the main point of contact for my stepfather’s affairs while he was in the middle of a medical crisis, making the best efforts to maintain something that resembled a marriage on my part (my wife was wonderful and supportive throughout) and then make sure I didn’t drop the ball on my work projects and personal projects (podcast, civic organization, etc…) while maintaining my health.

You can probably guess… balls got dropped… health detonated… starting failing people all around but most importantly failing myself.

So this year I decided to be proactive and scheduled my 2 weeks in advance. I don’t plan on any major trips… maybe some day trips to get out and about but my main goal is to detach… decompress… then rebuild my own internal structures that I’ve neglected for far too long. The reason this was different is I realized I finally reached burnout… not the burnout where you can relax for a few days and go back at it until it’s time to rest but the burnout when there’s nothing left and nothing will start the engine back up. So I have to take some time and recognize who I am now and adjust my life accordingly. Set new boundaries for myself and others and find out what brings me peace. I’m not too concerned about the life long pursuit of happiness… give me peace and I’ll be ok.

So I have 24 hours until I have to take my final exam for this semester to meet my minimum credit hours and I just started the class on Sunday night after passing my last exam that took me 3 months to start on. Once I finish my exam tomorrow regardless if I pass or not I am going to take at least a 2 month term break (max is 3). Between doing this and with my boss letting all my current projects wind down for me to finish tomorrow so when I come back after vacation I’ll have a clean plate to work from.

This will give me time to really clear everything off my plate… decide if I want to continue with school… decide what I want my day to day schedule to look like between work and home… decide what I want to do that will bring me peace… and for the first time in a while… I see a point where I’m not in fight or flight mode.

Two things today are really driving me to get to 3:30pm tomorrow.

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